A Langley Township councilor doesn’t think churches defying her city’s public health orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic should be entitled to certain tax breaks.
Kim Richter presented a notice of motion to council on Monday night asking that churches seeking permissive tax exemptions for 2022 must prove they have not been fined for defying public health orders.
“The way it will work is that when these organizations come in and apply for the tax exemption, we can see if the organization was fined during the public health order,” Richter said.
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Current British Columbia health ordinances ban public gatherings, including in-person religious services, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
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A handful of churches in the area, including some in Langley Township, continued to host Sunday service as usual despite these public health orders.
“It’s not fair,” Richter said. “Why should you reap the benefits of public money while putting at risk the people who pay those public dollars with your actions?”
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The motion also asks staff to consider whether there is a way to retroactively repeal or reclaim the permissive 2020/2021 property tax exemptions for organizations that have been fined.
Richter’s motion has been returned to staff to review the wording.
He could return to the board as early as January 25.
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